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Would like help knowing what I did wrong?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hey all I'm not sure if this is the right area or if I should post this in the recipe area.

My question is, this last week I made a Cheesecake. this was my first attempt and something is not quite right.:)

I'll put the recipe below for evaluation.

Well on to what happened. Well I made according to directions and did carefully measure. While the flavor is wonderful the consistency is not right. The cake is very dense, and almost the consistency of a dry souflee. Kinda hard to explain, but not Cheesecake. Also cake is Creamy but seems dry.
I was careful not to overmix and to us room temp eggs and CreamCheese. I did also bake in a waterbath.

While this is my first cake to make I have eaten lots of em and know something is not right. Any help or advice for next time would be greatly appreciated.


Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups of graham craker crumbs
( 1/4 cup of ground pecans if you have them)
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
6 tablespoons of melted butter
Cheesecake filling:
1 1/2 pounds of cream cheese (softened)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of flour
1teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 vanilla beans
4 eggs
2 tablespoons of heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a bowl, mix together the crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, ground pecans if you have them. Add the butter and mix well. Press evenly into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake about 8 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar a few tablespoons at a time, and then the flour, vanilla extract. Add the eggs and heavy cream, beating on low speed until it is all combined. Split open your vanilla beans and scape out the seeds and guts inside the bean. Add this to your batter. (save your split beans to garnish the top of the cheesecake)
Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the middle of the oven until set, the center should be slightly soft. It should bake for 55-70 minutes.
Remove from the oven, loosen the outer ring and let cool in the pan. Refrigerate the cake, for about 6 hours, then remove the outer ring

post #2 of 13
Just to clarify, did you happen to use a low fat or no fat cream cheese? That would have the result you explain.

I'm not a fan of flour in cheesecakes. I think you can still taste the flour in the finished product, but that's probably not your specific problem.

I think you over baked it. The cheesecake should still be somewhat jiggly when it's removed from the oven and will finish setting up while chilling.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 13
Just moving your question where It will get more appropriate exposure.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hmm. I used the plain Philly brand. Good possibility I did over bake. I'm gonna give it another shot this week. Do you really think that 2 tablespoon of flour would make a difference if I just left it out?
post #5 of 13
Flour is used in cheesecakes to help prevent cracks as it cools. It will suck up some moisture, but not enough to cause the dry grainy problem you had. I think flour hurts flavor. You can certainly omit the flour this next time and see what you think.

Most recipes I've seen use a little lower temp, 325, as well as a lower oven rack usually the lower third of the oven. Those two in combination will slow down the cooking some too.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #6 of 13
Phil and Dave,

Flour works by surrounding the protein molecules in egg and dairy with starch. This keeps them from shrinking, the Maillard reaction, and curling into tight little knots.

One of the functions of flour in cheesecake is to keep the cake from cracking (molecules contract). Another is to prevent the cake from over-browning (Maillard reaction) and developing a tough crust.

More importantly flour is generally used in custards -- and a cheesecake filling is a custard -- to prevent curdling (molecules grab one another and curl into tight little knots). In cheesecake, curdling presents as a grainy texture. Three other technique for preventing curdling are the water bath and a relatively low baking temperature.

The cake was dry, grainy, souffle-like (meaning lots of little holes like an overcooked, overbeaten omelet), and too dense. These first three show that the custard curdled. No question about it. The last is mostly indicative of curdling also, but perhaps of a too rapid cool-down too.

I've written that there are four important techniques to baking a cheesecake, but I was wrong. There are four:
1. Don't overbeat;
2. Use a water bath;
3. Slow oven; and,
4. Graduated, gradual cool-down.

Phil nailed this one. The recipe for this particular cheesecake is flawed, so even though Dave followed it, he baked in too hot an oven. The temperature should be reduced to 325 and the time allowed lengthened accordingly -- probably about 85-90 minutes for a cake that size. And of course times depend on the oven, some are faster than others, while some are slower.

Overbeating: Taking your word for it. Check.

Waterbath: Check.

Cool down: I have no idea what you did on this. Once you've determined by touch that the cheesecake is done, turn off the heat but leave the door open and the cheesecake in place for 20 minutes while the oven and bath both cool down. Then slide the rack forward and the bath to the front of the rack and pan to the front of the bath, and leave for another 20 minutes (called [i]vestibule cooling[/]). Then gently remove the cake from bath, set it on a rack on the counter and let it cool to room temperature, another two hours.

This gentle cool-down keeps the delicate structure as intact as possible for a "lighter" cheesecake. So does the minimal, slow-speed beating technique. Too much air makes the cake fall. A fallen cake is denser than one that had less air to begin with.

Finally, the cake should be ripened in the refrigerator overnight.

Hope this helps,
post #7 of 13
But I can still taste the flour. A good cheesecake isn't hard to make without flour.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #8 of 13
Flour helps prevent curdling. It's not a guarantee. Other things help as well. Still, when someone asks, "How do I keep my cheesecake from curdling?" My first response is not to say, "Don't use flour."

On the other hand, if someone says, "Okay, it doesn't curdle anymore, but how do I keep it from tasting like flour?" I might say, "Don't use flour."

Gei gezundt,
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Wow some good advice so far. Biggest problem I noticed so far was I cooked it to high and cooled to quick.

When I felt it was done I pulled it and placed it on a rack right away. No vestibule cooling.

I'm gonna give it another shot this week, modifying based on replies. Lower temp and more controlled cooling

Couple of further questions though if I may.

1. Is there a purpose or benefit using Sour Cream in the recipe?

2. As far as mixing. Does it matter over beating in the begining when just creaming Cream Cheese and Sugar? I have seen comments that you only need to worry about overmixing towards the end when you add the eggs, and to add them slowly.

3. Also what would be the negative impact of using a Large roasting oven? My wife has a large electric that is large enough to hold the cake with room around it. I am thinking this could be a possibility as this would work well to hold the water. Also so far from use it seems to be as consistant as my oven for temp.

post #10 of 13
1. Benefit to sour cream? Yes, two. More tang to the taste, and a lighter texture. That doesn't mean you'll like it more, just that it's different. Also, you won't use regular cream which means your coffee will taste better. For what it's worth, nuts in the crust and sour cream in the batter is what the Cheesecake Factory does. There's a recent thread running around with my CF type recipe somewhere.

2. Overbeating? You don't want to overbeat the cream cheese in the beginning either, because you don't want to get too much air in there. The air expands when it cooks, "lifting" the cake. This is all well and good -- in fact it sounds light and wonderful -- BUT the cheesecake doesn't provide enough structure to stay light -- so it falls. The more it falls, the heavier it will end up. You want the cheesecake to hold on to as much of its lift as possible. This means not putting too much air into the batter. The idea that you can abuse the ingredients in the beginning probably comes from someone who made pie dough. Alas, not the same thing. We don' care 'bout no stinkin' glutens.

3. Wife's roasting oven? You got me, brother. What's a roasting oven? Is it a convection oven? I've never used one for baking cheesecake. I understand they're naturally faster -- and your problem was the opposite. On the other hand, they maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cook -- which for cheesecake would be a good thing. You really need someone who's done it before. Phil?

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well that expplains the Sour cream dilema. After I get one down then I'll expand out more. Also That does explain about the overmixing and incorporating air. Thanks alot I do appreciate yours and everyones help so far.

Hmm Roasting Oven: Similar to a slow cooker. Usually larger and has Baking and roasting utilities.

Don't have link privledges yet but Nesco makes one found it off Google. Not the one I have but very similar.
post #12 of 13
I don't own one of those roasters so I've never tried that. Seems it should work. I've seen recipes for cheesecake in a pressure cooker, though I've not tried any of those either. Not that a PC and a Roaster are the same thing, but there are enough similarities I think the roaster would work.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #13 of 13
I "own" a successful cheesecake business and have won several awards for our cheesecake. The following is what we do every day and never have a crack or dry cheesecake.
So, you can take this for what it is worth!
The first thing I would do is ditch the flour, I know a lot of recipes use it but it just makes the cheesecake drier and on the crumbly side along with you baking at a temp that is too high. We never use flour in our cheesecakes!
You do not need 4 eggs with a 1 1/2 pounds of cream cheese - the rule of thumb we use is - 1 egg for each 1/2 pound of cream cheese.
You can keep the heavy cream but it is not necessary - your cheesecake will come out just fine without it. Does not really make a difference in the texture or flavor.
We use 1 tbs of pure vanilla for our 2 pounds of cream cheese.
That's the difference in the ingredients taht we use vs. your recipe ingredients.
Glad to see you have your eggs and cheese at room temp.
Next - cream your cream cheese on low, by itself, until most of your lumps are gone, this should not take more then a couple of minutes, do not overbeat the cheesecake at anytime. Just need to incorporate the ingredients. Add the sugar, mix until incorporated. Use fork or whisk to beat the eggs, (you can add the vanilla to eggs, this will help to disperse the vanilla within the other ingredients) then add to cheese & sugar and mix until incorporated. Shoud not take more then 30 seconds or so.
Using a water bath is the only way to go!
Now for the oven - A cheesecake should be baked very slowly, so, your oven should be at 300F not 325 or 350. Make sure you use hot water for the water bath!
If you use the 1 1/2 pounds of cream cheese, then 50 minutes should be sufficient for the bake time (since we use 2 pounds for our 9" we Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour), no longer, turn the oven off, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR FOR ANOTHER HOUR.
Take the cheesecake out of the oven and run a small bladed object, without a sharp edge, (we use a small frosting knife), around the cheesecake, this will help prevent the possibilities of any cracking. Cool completely and enjoy.
Hope this helps, but like I said earlier, we do this for a living and we think we know what we are doing!
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